Dear Family and Friends,
In March of 2020, COVID-19 changed all our lives. The pandemic manifested in stages, from uncertainty and fear with lockdowns, respites, up and down infection rates; to the hope brought by vaccines and treatments; later transitioning in many peoples’ minds into an annoyance, of increasing apathy. Through diligence and luck, both Chris and I were able to avoid contracting the virus. That changed on December 13, when Chris woke up with the first “cold” symptoms she had experienced in over two years (those masks keep out all kinds of viruses). The next day’s positive test confirmed her suspicions. She finally tested negative 14 days later, having joined the estimated 90% of our fellow citizens who have been caught by COVID at least once. Thankfully her case was mild. The demoralizing part was having to spend Christmas apart from friends and family. But isolation, the annoyance of wearing masks at home, eating in separate rooms, and Martin sleeping on our living room couch for two weeks has come to an end: it feels a little like being released from jail. Stay healthy!
We continue to ply our respective trades. Christina Andersen Floral Design is in its 23rd year; Chris has fully recovered her weekly accounts that were put on hiatus during the pandemic, and had very successful Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day traffic. Martin abides in his 44th season with New Jersey Symphony, has been teaching at Stevens Institute of Technology, and continues instructing private students. He spent a half-year as NJSO musician committee chair helping hammer out a new five-year labor agreement, ratified by his colleagues short of a strike on the cusp of the orchestra’s 100th anniversary season Gala. In July Martin played (literally) a bit part in a Leonard Bernstein biopic film entitled Maestro, starring and directed by Bradley Cooper, produced by Martin Scorsese. It should be released later this year.
In June we took a nice mini-vacation to Ithaca, in the New York Finger Lakes region, living for a few days at Eco Village. We hiked trails skirting its gorgeous gorges and waterfalls, and explored the Cornell University campus, as well as attractive shops, restaurants, and a big, fun farmer’s market. We had never experienced that area together – and will surely return.
We visited Martin’s mom Ruth in Palm Springs in March; followed by Martin making his usual solo trip to visit her in July. Then in October, when mom had a fainting spell, ended up in the hospital, and was counseled that she needed an aortic heart valve replacement, Martin flew out again to be at her side for several weeks through the process of prep, surgery and recovery. It was a bit of a blow to see mom so vulnerable, considering that in her 92 years, she had seen no life-threatening health issues. She is doing well now, is still living in her own home, and has resumed her normal activities.
In August we traveled west, first visiting Chris’ hometown of Rockford, Illinois to visit her brother Jim and wife Jeanne, sister Janet, and goddaughter Megan, husband Jake, sons Sam and Ben; also attending part of Chris’ 50th High School reunion (postponed by two years). Next, we enjoyed three weeks in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where Martin resumed performing at Grand Teton Music Festival, having skipped the previous year.
Chris celebrated achieving the age of 70 on October 18. Actually, we had two parties, one for local friends, the other for Brooklyn relatives. For the former we had a catered affair at our apartment – yummy food, great company (everyone testing before arrival). For the second fete, Chris cooked her mom’s Cowboy Chili recipe – really casual. Champagne at both!
We hope your Christmas and holiday season was a good one. Wishing a Happy New Year to all.
Martin and Chris